Things to consider when using technology with service users

High tech options do not have to replace low-tech, but can be used as part of a therapy toolkit to help the service user engage and maximise therapy time. Sometimes low tech options are easier to use or preferred by the user. Both approaches need reviewing over time to ensure the service user is still benefiting.

When making a decision about whether to use technology in therapy, consider the service user’s:

  • Preference, i.e. prefer paper-based or computer-based
  • Support network, i.e. will they be able to use and maintain the technology
  • Cognition, i.e. ability to understand how to use the therapy area
  • Language / reading ability
  • Dexterity / vision / hearing
  • Computer literacy, i.e.
    • knowing how to turn device on and navigate,
    • knowing not to click on adverts in apps,
    • avoiding accidental payments
    • accidental download of viruses and malware
  • Functional goals of therapy

When you’ve decided to use technology, there are some further things to be aware of.

If the service user is using their own device:

  • Get their consent for their device to be used in this way
  • They may have sensitive information they don’t want us to see – personal emails and photos
  • Ensure there are no viruses/malware and the device is functional
  • Let them know the extent of our support role – SLTs are not technicians so can only provide some support


If they are being loaned a device by the service:

  • Ensure logged out of payment accounts, and that they are told not to change passwords
  • Not connected to cloud, i.e. to prevent automatic upload of sensitive stuff
  • Advise them on general device safety, e.g. not downloading viruses/malware, avoid phishing emails, using correct charger etc. Refer to local/national services for general use and safety.
  • Communicate your service’s loan agreement. Many places say the device should be put under the service user’s home insurance.
  • Be aware that there are conflicting opinions as to whether devices should be restricted so that the service user can only use the chosen therapy program. Please check with your place of work for guidance.

What to consider when your service’s device is returned:

  • Infection control
  • Erasing confidential data, e.g. ensure not still logged into their account, cookies and internet history
  • System updates